chapter  20
6 Pages

Materials on the Stanislavsky System

Chekhov would not break it from his opening line. He did not tell what the system is, and he mentioned nothing of how it was created. Yet many exciting things can be written about this with love and care. Instead, Chekhov, above and beyond his promise, relates at great length how to work with a student and what the student should do. If this is a practical guide, it does not reach its goal, for the practical

part of Stanislavsky’s teaching cannot be explained in three to four magazine pages. This would take several volumes (I am not exaggerating). If this is an introduction to the system for those uninitiated, these persons receive a false and inaccurate impression of it, due to the sketchiness of the information. Even if this is a summary, it is simply incorrect as it is not systema-

tized and far removed from the historically formed plan life itself has developed. The system is called a system when everything in it is systematically consistent. If it is an exposition of Stanislavsky’s teaching, then what does it have to do with the practical advice to students and their instructor that takes up three-quarters of the article? Finally, I was quite disappointed by Michael Chekhov’s state-

ment that he intends to give a “complete and detailed exposition” of Stanislavsky’s system. I imagine that only the person who created this system can give

a “complete and detailed exposition.” I imagine that any exposition of the system by a third party is bound to suffer from a lack of such “completeness.” I imagine that the author of the article “On the Stanislavsky System” won’t be upset with me if I permit myself to doubt the wisdom and timeliness of any exposition of Stanislavsky’s teaching before Stanislavsky himself publishes his work.